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Council approves tax abatement for AHI Linden Lumber

LINDEN &8212; With the blessing of the City Council, the newly formed AHI Linden Lumber Company has the approval of another local government body to secure their operations at their Linden mill site.

Terry Dunnam, chief executive officer for the new company presented a proposal on behalf of Theodore Rossi, the company&8217;s chief executive officer. Dunnam proposed a 10-year ad valorem tax abatement on the company&8217;s properties located inside the city limits, which is identical to the proposal presented to the Marengo County Commission earlier this month.

&8220;Having this abatement will help us approach the state for a tax abatement,&8221; Dunnam said.

Dunnam said these securities, along with a $1.5 million loan from the county, will give the company the chance to keep their operations in Marengo County.

Furthermore, if the market begins to recover from its current downturn, Dunnam said he predicts the company can re-open one of their production lines.

More jobs, along with new equipment to be purchased with the bond issue approved by the county, will allow the company to upgrade their flooring operations. Dunnam said upgraded equipment could bring in an approximate savings of 10-12 cents per square foot of flooring produced, which is equivalent to $2.5 million a year.

The company&8217;s current level of employment is at approximately 200. When Linden Lumber Company faced foreclosure in August, the company employed 425 people.

Councilman Dennis Breckenridge and Councilwoman Mitzi Gates both expressed their support of the proposal in light of the company&8217;s history in the county.

The council voted unanimously to approve the tax abatement.

In other business, the council:

4voted to reopen bidding for approved city surplus items that had already undergone one bid cycle.

4announced federal and state agencies inspected the Marengo Nursing Home with only minor citations, all of which were resolved.

4announced the dates for the Spring Clean-up, a program meant for Linden citizens, as April 18-19.

announced the city and utility department received gold awards for not having any workman&8217;s compensation citations this year.